High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging of human cochlea

Robert D. Silver, Hamid R. Djalilian, Samuel C. Levine, Frank L. Rimell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objectives: High-resolution MRI (MRI) of human inner ear structures provides several advantages over other imaging modalities. High-resolution visualization of inner ear ultrastructure in a noninvasive manner may provide important information about inner ear disease that is not obtainable in other ways. The study was performed to demonstrate the capabilities of MRI at high resolution on the human cochlea, vestibular structures, and facial nerve. Comparative analyses of MRI anatomy with that seen on histological dissection were made. The aim of the study was to define the anatomy of human cadaveric cochlea using a 9.4-Tesla magnetic resonance scanner, currently the most powerful magnetic resonance magnet available. Study Design: Experimental pilot study of cadaveric human cochleae. Methods: Serial scanning using a 9.4-Tesla magnetic resonance imager on normal preserved and fresh cadaveric inner ears was performed in different planes. Results: The images revealed detailed anatomy of the modiolus, utricle, saccule, semicircular canals, and facial nerve. Specifically, identifiable structures within the cochlea included the osseous spiral lamina, Reissner's membrane, membranous spiral lamina, spiral ligament, and others. Conclusions: Data established through the acquisition of images from cadaver cochlea, facial nerve, and vestibular complex provide a foundation for developing steps for testing temporal bones and, eventually, patients with Meniere's disease and other inner ear disease. The present ongoing project will provide information on baseline images of the inner ear using high-resolution MRI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1737-1741
Number of pages5
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002


  • Cochlea
  • High-resolution imaging


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